Pumper truck built in 1983 lacked modern safety features and was unreliable in emergency situations.
New Waverly Fire Department Captain Josh Slott has been writing grant applications for years in hopes of finally replacing one of the oldest fire engines in the county, a 1983 pumper tanker that has been in and out of service for the past 3 years and lacked safety and performance features required in modern fire apparatus. After being passed over on several occasions, his persistence paid off when the Department’s grant was finally approved last fall. In September of 2014, Congressman Kevin Brady’s office notified the NWVFD that their grant application had been approved under the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) grant program.
The primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of local emergency responders. Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.
New Waverly Firefighters traveled to Baton Rouge this week to assist in final preparations for delivery of the replacement pumper later on this month. The new truck is equipped with a fully enclosed cab and features designed to keep firefighters safe in the event of an accident, and is equipped for service as both a pumper and tanker truck for fires in areas where there are no fire hydrants. One of the unique safety features incorporates all of the hydraulic rescue tools or “Jaws of Life”, into the front bumper, allowing firefighters to quickly deploy their rescue tools on vehicle accidents, while using the size of the apparatus to shield them from oncoming traffic.
Chief Jacob Slott stated, “Whether it be on narrow country roads or on the highway, one of the most dangerous places to work is at the scene of a vehicle accident. Statistically speaking, one secondary accident occurs on every 5 accident scenes on a busy roadway. Every year hundreds of Firefighters, EMTs, Police and Tow Truck operators are injured and killed in these secondary accidents. As the I-45 widening project takes place over the next few years, this truck will help keep our firefighters and other emergency responders safe as they respond to accidents during heavy traffic and in construction zones.”
In 2009, the New Waverly Fire Department received a rating of 4 from the Texas Insurance Services Office, effectively lowering fire insurance rates by as much as 65% for some homes in the ESD. Chief Slott went on to say, “The Department and the Emergency Services District are committed to providing the best possible services while keeping costs as low as possible. We will continue to seek grant funding for major purchases whenever possible to limit the burden on local property taxes. Residents will continue to benefit from lower insurance rates and our firefighters will be safer as they go about their job providing emergency services to our community.”
Additional grant funding in recent years has allowed for the replacement of worn out firefighter protective clothing, as well as new wildland firefighting gear and portable radios to improve communications at emergency incidents. Training materials and specialized training are also funded through annual grant funding provided by the Texas Forest Service.